Very Lemony Raspberry Lemonade

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When I posted my Lemon Raspberry Muffins recipe recently, I promised you I’d share the recipe for the Raspberry Lemonade I made to go with them…well, here it is!

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It’s very, very lemony! And the frozen raspberries that are mixed in with it give this lemonade a rosy pink color. A perfect beverage to make in the spring and summer…or how about Easter weekend?

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I used a new favorite pitcher of mine to serve the lemonade in–and one thing I love about this pitcher is that it has a chalkboard decal, so you can write the name of the beverage you’re serving right on the pitcher! As I mentioned in my muffin post, this pitcher is part of the Daily Grace Collection by (in)courage  (sold at DaySpring.com) and each piece has some inspiring words about gratefulness and God’s grace in the design–so nice to look at when you’re enjoying a meal or snack at your table!

Like I said, this lemonade is very lemony, so if you’d like it a little less lemony you can just use 3 cups of lemon juice–or add more water (and maybe a little more sugar) to the mixture. You can easily adjust the amounts to suit your taste. Hope you get a chance to try it out!

VERY LEMONY RASPBERRY LEMONADE by NancyCreative, adapted from FoodNetwork.com (courtesy of Ree Drummond)

Makes about 12 to 13 cups

  • 4 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (it takes about 7 to 8 lemons to yield 1 cup of lemon juice, so you will need 28 to 32 lemons! Or you could use 2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice and 2 cups bottled lemon juice)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 7 to 8 cups water, divided
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen raspberries
  • 3 lemons, sliced into thin slices
  • ice cubes for pitcher and glasses

Squeeze the lemons and pour the juice into a pitcher. Mix together the sugar with 2 cups of water and stir to dissolve to make a syrup. add the syrup to the lemon juice and top it up with 5 to 6 cups of water. If this is too lemony for you, add another cup of water–you may also need to add a little extra sugar to taste. Then add the frozen raspberries. Mix the lemonade together and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least a half hour. Just before serving, add about 1 lemon’s worth of slices to the pitcher and stir (use the rest of the lemon slices in the glasses). Fill glasses or mason jars with ice cubes and a lemon slice; pour in the lemonade and serve.

You can halve this recipe, too, if you want to make a smaller amount. I also have a recipe for Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade, if you want to try that out. Do you have a favorite lemonade recipe?

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Daffodils

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I picked these daffodils yesterday–they’ve just recently started blooming. They were growing by the side of the road, and I just had to pick some! I love the variety–some are bright yellow, some are soft yellow, and some are soft cream. My favorite, though, are the daffodils that have creamy petals with vivid orange centers.

Do you have daffodils in your garden and are they blooming yet?

I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Spring Colors

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I love the colors in this photo I took of hydrangeas, my favorite flower! I thought I’d call out some of these colors and make a spring color palette! These would be great colors to decorate with…or even create artwork or crafts with.

Hope you are enjoying the arrival of spring! :)

I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.

Shamrock Smoothie

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If you want a cool, creamy treat, this smoothie is just the thing to make! It gets it’s creaminess from the tasty blend of frozen kiwifruit, banana, and key lime yogurt (you can substitute vanilla yogurt, but I really like this with the lime). There are a few other ingredients you’ll see in the recipe below and they all blend up into this wonderful smoothie that not only tastes great, but is also a delightful springy shade of green. How can you resist that?

SHAMROCK SMOOTHIE by NancyCreative, adapted from Midwest Living

Makes about 16 ounces, or 2 servings

  • 2 kiwifruit, peeled and quartered
  • 1 banana, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup seedless green grapes
  • 1 (6-ounce) container key lime or vanilla flavored yogurt
  • 1/3 cup orange juice or white grape juice, well-chilled
  • 1/2 Tablespoon honey
  • Optional: additional kiwi fruit slices for garnish

Several hours or the night before making: Place the 2 peeled and quartered kiwifruit and sliced banana in a small freezer bag and freeze for 2 hours or until frozen (arrange fruit flat in a single layer in the bag so it doesn’t freeze into a big clump; otherwise it will be too hard to break up for blending).

When ready to make, add grapes, yogurt, juice, honey, and half of the frozen fruit (break up fruit if any pieces have stuck together while freezing). Cover and blend until smooth. Add remaining frozen fruit and blend until smooth.

Pour into glasses and, if desired, garnish with fresh kiwi fruit slices.

Hope you get a chance to enjoy this smoothie! What kinds of fun green treats are you making (or eating) for St. Patrick’s Day?

Pear Lime Kiwifruit Water

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I thought I’d try a flavored water with a green theme, since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up! But of course, this water is great any time of the year. You mostly taste the lime in this, but the kiwifruit and pear slices make the pitcher of water look so nice! :) I think this water tastes best the same day you make it, but you’ll want to refrigerate it a few hours before serving so the water has more flavor. Use organic produce if you can when making this.

PEAR, LIME, KIWIFRUIT WATER by NancyCreative

Makes a large pitcher (half gallon) of flavored water

  • 8 cups of water (I used 2 cups of sparkling water mixed in with 6 cups of regular water to give it a slight fizziness–see note below*)
  • 1 large organic pear, cut into thin slices
  • 2 limes, cut into thin slices
  • 2 kiwifruit, cut into thin slices

Fill pitcher with 8 cups of water. Add slices of pear, lime, and kiwifruit, and stir all ingredients together in the pitcher. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving (the slices of kiwifruit tend to settle at the bottom, so you will need to stir before serving to mix all the fruit evenly). When ready to serve, add ice cubes to pitcher and stir or add ice to individual glasses and pour the flavored water over the ice.

*For a fizzy water drink, use Seltzer water or natural sparkling water (like Perrier) instead of regular water, or use some of each (do not use Club Soda or Tonic Water, as one is high in sodium and the other is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup).

Have you tried making any uniquely-flavored water lately?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Spring Fever

I had to make a quick trip to the mall and ended up staying longer than I intended because I was admiring some pretty Spring and Easter tableware and decor at two of my favorite stores, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma! Teal, light and bright greens, and nature-inspired neutrals seem to be big color themes for the spring season. These happen to be some of my favorite colors–no wonder I was so drawn to the store displays! :) (Photos shown in this post are from Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma)

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At Pottery Barn, I loved all the teal in the table settings displayed right by the front entrance. The tableware looked great with the natural color and texture of woven place mats, along with some burlap and twine accents–so springy and outdoorsy! The inside store display I saw looked very much like the set-up in the photo above, featured on the Pottery Barn website.

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And I thought these bunny cupcake stands were sweet–they also work great for mini pies and tarts or cookies!

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I also liked these nature-inspired basket fillers

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…perfect for creating your own woodland baskets!

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The teal-green-neutral combination also looked great in other home accessories…

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…like this brightly-patterned pillow.

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I thought this embroidered butterfly pillow had a great spring feel, too.

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And I loved all the glassware in spring colors, especially the teal!

img45cWilliams-Sonoma also had nature-inspired designs in some of their spring tableware

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…and they have a new Botanical Citrus Collection which looks very springy.

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You can always find fun baking accessories there, like this Buttercup Cakelet Pan. How cute is that?

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And I saw these cookies later on their website–some great Easter cookie decorating inspiration!

Do you have Spring Fever like I do? Have you found any inspiring Easter and Spring decorating, entertaining, or gift ideas out there?

I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.

10 Recipes for Valentine’s Day

Here’s a roundup of 10 recipes that your Valentine–or Valentines–will love…some are healthy and some are not-so-healthy (but very yummy)!

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If you’re wanting something sweet for your Valentine breakfast, try these Strawberry Yogurt Muffins–the strawberries on top look like hearts, so they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day!

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Or if you’re wanting something healthy, try this Cranberry-Pecan Oatmeal, made with dried cranberries and chopped pecans. You can substitute dried cherries for the cranberries if you want.

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Or make this Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Bake if you’re feeding a larger group.

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You can also use your dried cranberries (or cherries) in these Cranberry Almond Breakfast Scones for a mid-morning or afternoon Valentine snack!

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Since you may be eating lots of sweets on Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to include a healthy salad in your lunch or dinner menu–this Apple Pear Pecan Salad has dried cranberries in it too, but dried cherries would be yummy as well!

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Savory Strawberry Salsa makes a great appetizer with tortilla chips, and it’s also really good served over grilled chicken!

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Now you need some dessert ideas…Strawberry Cupcakes are just the thing!

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But lots of people prefer something chocolate, and you can’t go wrong with these Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudgy Frosting!

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If you want a healthier dessert, you could always make this Healthy Chocolate Shake

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But, hey, it’s Valentine’s Day–if you want to splurge, make these Dark Chocolate-Covered Cherry Swirl Brownies!

Hope you get a chance to try out some of these treats! Do you have a favorite Valentine recipe?

Apple Pear Pecan Salad

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It’s always fun trying out different ways to make salads–it makes salad-eating a little more interesting! In the summer months, I like adding strawberries and blueberries to my salads. So I thought I’d try making a more “wintry” salad with apples and pears, inspired by this recipe. There’s also creamy crumbles of feta cheese mixed in, along with some healthy pecans that give this salad a nice flavor and crunch! I learned recently that pecans are rich in antioxidants and contain heart-healthy mono and ployunsaturated fats. They’re also rich in fiber–a handful of pecans contain the same amount of fiber as a medium-sized apple! I had received a complimentary sample of Bergeron Pecans through the National Pecan Shellers Association, and they were a perfect addition to this salad!

APPLE PEAR PECAN SALAD by NancyCreative, adapted from Kraft Foods

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 8 cups of packaged salad mix (about a 5.5-ounce package) or coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, divided
  • 1 medium or large apple, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium or large pear, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • 1 cup pecan halves or coarsely chopped pecans, toasted or untoasted, divided (I used Bergeron Pecans)
  • 1 bottle of your favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (regular or lite)

In a large salad bowl, toss together the lettuce, half of the dried cranberries (1/3 cup), and all of the chopped apple and pear. Then add in half of the crumbled feta cheese and half of the pecans (1/2 cup) and toss all ingredients together. Sprinkle the remaining dried cranberries, pecans, and feta cheese on top. Serve on individual plates and drizzle each serving with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing.

Toasting Pecans: For more crunchiness and flavor, you can toast your pecans in the oven by spreading in a single layer in a shallow baking pan; bake at 350˚ for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. To toast pecans on the stove top, place them in an ungreased skillet and cook on medium heat until golden brown, stirring frequently. To toast pecans in the microwave, place up to 1 cup pecans in a microwaveable shallow dish; microwave on high until crisp, stirring every 30 seconds.

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This salad is great with a meal–a larger serving of it can even be a meal in itself! What types of recipes do you like to use pecans in?

Linked to Tidy Mom–I’m Loving It.

Cranberry Orange Banana Smoothie

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I usually have a few bags of frozen cranberries in my freezer this time of year. During the holidays, I buy a some extra bags of fresh cranberries and freeze them so I can use them later–for recipes that I come across like this one, which I found at Williams-Sonoma. The cranberry-orange flavors in this smoothie are so good together and I used honey to sweeten it (you can also use agave nectar). It has just the right amount of sweetness and if you like cranberries, I’m sure you will love this smoothie!

yogurt-24_vanillaI like using thicker, creamy yogurts in my smoothies, like Greek yogurt, but in this smoothie I used Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Vanilla Yogurt. I had received a complimentary sample to try out, and I really liked it. This yogurt has a thick, creamy texture–perfect for smoothies! In addition to being organic and lactose free (which is important for those of you who are lactose intolerant), it’s also gluten free and has less sugar than other yogurts, so it’s very healthy!

Hope you get to try out this yummy winter smoothie–perfect for a quick, easy breakfast. Maybe not in zero-degree weather, but great for a warmer winter day! :)

CRANBERRY ORANGE BANANA SMOOTHIE by NancyCreative, adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Makes about 20 ounces, or 2 (10-ounce) servings

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

It feels good to eat a little healthier after all that holiday food! Are you trying to eat healthier after the holidays too?

Linked to Tidy Mom–I’m Lovin’ It.

Decorating Ideas for Next Christmas

It never fails…when Christmas is over, I come across ideas I wish I had seen earlier in the season so I could have tried them out. Well, I’m saving these ideas for next Christmas! Maybe you’ll find something here you’ll want to try next year, too!

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From My Picture-Perfect Life–Top photo: display ornaments in a variety of glass containers or covered plates or stands. Even larger vases work great! Bottom photo: Silver and gold are a great combination–add fullness to a silvery Christmas tree with decorative gold stems.

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From A Fanciful Diversion–a Shabby Chic lantern filled with a collection of snowy, glittery treasures.

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My artistic friend Eileen had a similar idea this Christmas, making such a pretty arrangement, above, on her table!

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From Carpe Diem–Glttery gold ornaments paired with rustic and natural elements–and more lanterns surrounding the bottom of the tree.

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Love this outdoor lantern on a vintage sled–from Self Architecture. Gives any porch a warm and welcoming look!

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A great way to add a touch of Christmas to bedrooms–hang stockings at the foot of the bed and add a Christmas pillow on top! From Passion Decor.

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Top photo: Pinecones go great with the other rustic decor in this Shabby Chic display, from Seda y Nacar. And from the same site, a festive bannister with gifts and greenery.

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What a cozy entryway from Texstil Design!

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Cute little Christmas trees add a nice touch on tables indoors or out. From Jaynes Cozy Corner.

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A glowing, golden vintage village warms up any room. From Old, but gold.

Well, we will sure be prepared for next Christmas, won’t we? :) Have you collected some ideas you are saving for next Christmas?